Advent calendar – December 20

Antsar and family

Antsar with her husband Said and their children. CLWR/H.Patterson

Antsar is pictured here with her husband Said and their family. They are Christians from the Mosul area of Iraq. Antsar used to work in a hair salon, and Said and their oldest son were day labourers. Their family left their home quickly with the rest of the people in their villages when they heard that Islamic State (IS) was coming. They thought that IS would be pushed back in a few days and they could return.

“We thought we would be gone only one day or two. We didn’t even bring clothes fro the children. I thought it would be a few days before returning back. We didn’t know,” says Antsar.

They had been living in a church compound in northern Iraq with 43 other families for over a year when we spoke to them.

CLWR made living conditions more bearable for the families in the compound by building community kitchens and latrines, and providing harsh weather supplies such as air fans, hygiene kits and mosquito repellents. This was accomplished with support from Canadian Lutherans, our local partner Lutheran World Federation-Iraq and the Canadian government.

Antsar misses the way life was. She hopes to return home one day, even though they won’t have much to return to. Someone posted pictures of Antsar’s village online that show many houses burnt by IS-occupying forces. They could see that the cross was pulled down off the local church, and they recognized their home in the pictures, burned.

“Of course we hope to go back, but we don’t know when it will become safe,” says Antsar. “There we had our jobs. Here we just sit and wait and talk.”

Antsar was interviewed by Heather Patterson

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